The Golden Dream (2013)

Directed by Diego Quemada-Diez 

Who’s in it? Brandon Lopez, Rodolfo Domínguez, Karen Martínez

What’s it about? The Golden Dream (La Jaula de Oro) is Ken Loach prodigy Quemada-Diez’s first full blown solo project after plying his trade for years as the respected and conscientious British director’s camera assistant. The film uncovers the “human warmth, compassion and truth” hidden in the most unlikely of situations, namely modern day Mexico, if you happen to be an illegal migrant looking for a better life in the US. The plot follows three Guatamalan teenagers as they busk their way across the border, hitching a lift on the roof of an obliging train along the way while attempting to stay the right side of traffickers and drug lords, in search of greener grass. Awarded the Best Talent Prize last year at Cannes, Quemada-Diez is undoubtedly a graduate of the Loach school of down to earth realism and the film embraces his mentor’s gritty aesthetic but remains very much his own creation, sure to surprise and delight.

Memorable Moments? The youngster’s brief sojourn atop a moving train is just a taster of the simple joys the film relates in a coming of age/immigration tale for the 21st century that has never felt so relevant.

Look Who’s Talking: “A beautiful film, full of human warmth, compassion and truth. The struggle of the innocent is caught with precision. And it is clear that the real enemy is beyond their reach or comprehension, but nonetheless very present in the film. Terrific!” – Ken Loach

Like that? Try this: Sin Nombre/Nameless (2009) follows the fortunes of Honduran migrants fleeing poverty and violence in Mexico to the United States, written and directed by Cary Fukunaga, the man behind the sumptuous 2010 Jane Eyre remake, and featuring award winning cinematography.

Trivia Pursuit: The Best Talent Prize, which The Golden Dream won at Cannes in 2013, was reportedly created especially for the film. 

Ronan Wright blogs about films from Belfast at Filmplicity.

Ronan Wright is a graduate in Film Studies from The Queen’s University of Belfast. As well as contributing to MercatorNet as a film critic since March 2011 he has run Filmplicity, a Belfast-based film...